Wisdom over Evangelism – talk notes for July 12th 2015


Notes from my talk today, as with all my talks these are notes and the talk is adapted to the listeners on the day led by the Spirit.

Wisdom over Evangelism

Readings

Proverbs 16 : 24  & 18 : 20   Mark 12 1-9    1 Peter 3 13-18   Psalm 71 :17-24

Key’s  Cost   Letting God do    Courage to fly the flag

 

So who first told you the good news of Jesus Christ and how?

 

I have talked before about evangelism, hopefully today we can see it differently.

 

in my Notice  sheet piece I asked

Who first told you?

Who told you the good news?

All of us have heard the Good News of Jesus Christ from someone else,  followers of Christ have been telling others since Jesus first said this.

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

In Matthew 29  18-20

 

Often the answer to this question is many different people over time.

 

However  this  is  often seen as hard to do, and not just by us.

It is seen as Costly in many ways, Paul and others all died doing it.

 

It is always costly to tell others about Jesus.

Jesus did not hide that, His story in our Mark reading shows that.

God knows that if His own son was killed then we will also have to suffer to spread the news.

But God loves those lost sheep, as Robert told us last week, and we are to love them to. That is what should drive us to tell them no matter what.

In 1 Peter 3

14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.

 

18 Christ suffered[d] for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit

 

God commands us to tell others, it is His plan for getting the good news out there. We are His voice, the workers in the field.

 

 

However we often find We lack the faith to fly the flag of Christ, instead we avoid  any mention of our faith.

 

In our day to day life we fly the flags of many things which interest us or are part of us.

We talk passionately about our football team or hobby, our family, our work, because it is a deep part of our identity. People we spend a lot of time with know a lot about what makes us tick. the deep parts of our identity.

Do we talk about our faith in Christ like that, do we fly His flag. Is our identity in Christ so deep in us that it comes over to others naturally?

 

Is your faith deep enough strong enough for you to tell others?

If not why not?

 

Peter went from denying Jesus to telling thousands,   Paul went from hostile to passionate.

You can also have the much faith and trust.

 

Where do we get  that courage from?

 

We find it Impossible because we try to do it ourselves,  rather than letting God do it through  us.

 

Many of us try to tell others ourselves with our own abilities, or lack of, with our own knowledge.

The situation goes all wrong and we stumble and then give up.

 

How did Peter and Paul and many others manage to tell others?

Because they and I let God do it.

Its Gods work, is job.

All He wants us to do is be the conduct, the voice, the hands.

 

Pray for openings and then pray for the right things to say.

If we remember that we are part of a team, others have gone before and others will follow.

 

Some have already tilled the soil, others planted, still others watered and weeded.

Then others will harvest and store.

 

We do not need to do the whole job just the part God has for us at that time and place.

Proverbs

16  24 Kind words are like honey-
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

18  20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal;
the right words bring satisfaction.

 

We need to let God use us to bring kind and wise words or actions into a persons life.

 

Old man & Holly  in hospital,

 

So the question  is what do I need in order to tell others?

As others told me.

What made them able to tell others of the good news, what do I need to be able to do the same?

Psalm 71 17 O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.

 

  

So the answers to the questions

 

If God commands us to tell others, how do I do it?

Where do we get  that courage from?

How do I pay the cost and fly the flag?

 

A strong  faith  in Jesus  Christ, a deep trust  in His faithfulness,  and knowing I am  loved. Then I can share  my own  story my own  journey  with others. Able to  share  what He has done  for me and what  He can do for the person  I am talking  with.

Trusting that God will do all the rest by His Spirit.

 

Jesus said I have been given ALL authority, and I am with you ALWAYS

I do not need all the answers, even if many think I have them, trusting that the Spirit of Jesus will give me what I need.

I do not need to plan out the approach, just trust in the Spirit of Jesus to guide me.

I do need to be rooted in Gods wisdom, as shown in Jesus, in all parts of my life so it is natural to talk about it.

We just need to trust that Jesus’ Spirit will be with me always.

  

Matt from my cell group, said I could read this to you as an example.

I recently went on holiday with all my close friends. I tend not to discuss my beliefs with them.

One of my closest friends is very opinionated on his disdain for Christianity.

On the drive down, the subject of faith came up in conversation.

Initially I was nervous, he expressed a few issues that made him angry and anti-Christian. I listened to his grievances for a while but I was surprised that I didn’t feel uncomfortable and that I had a sense of calm. Normally I feel awkward and annoyed when people disrespect Christianity.

His interpretation was that Christians are judgemental, calling people sinners as if they deem themselves above others. My response was that Christianity isn’t about being judgemental at all.

The thing is that- everybody whether they’re Christian, Atheist or whoever – is a sinner and that at times all of us are guilty of being hypocrites.

I explained to him that our faith is about following the teachings of Jesus and that he taught us to save judgement for God. I told him Jesus’s love & teachings offer anybody sanctuary from the guilt and corruption of sin- which is very liberating, not controlling or oppressive.

I think my friend had a mixed understanding of Jesus and Christianity. What I found interesting was our different viewpoints on Jesus’s crucifixion.

He saw it as God’s massive betrayal of Jesus and a waste. I mentioned C.S Lewis and “The Lion, the Witch and the wardrobe” when Aslan the lion sacrifices himself. What I remember of the story is Aslan gives himself up voluntarily in the place of the creatures under his protection, in order to save them. The evil Witch thinks he is a fool. But she does not realise he will return more powerful than ever.

I feel that this analogy helps me understand what happened to Jesus more clearly. I said to my friend that I think the crucifixion shows how cruel, violent & ignorant the world we live in can be, and reveals more about the behaviour of humankind. God gave us the most amazing force of goodness & love through Jesus and it was rejected by the world.

My friend responded thoughtfully and as I know him well, I took this to mean that he accepted the significance of my argument.

We found at the end of our conversation that:

  1. We had arrived in North Devon!
  2. We agreed that Jesus’ teachings are a good way to live your life and treat others.
  3. Wisdom is at the heart of faith and something worth striving for (The Bible is full of it!)

I almost fell out of the car when my friend actually thanked me for being open to discussing faith. His experience of talking to Christians was that they would get defensive and would be unwilling to see his point of view. Or worse, not really able to discuss it at all.

I learned something from this situation, as I hope my mate did.

I think I accept that I don’t always say the right things when discussing Christianity, or have a full knowledge of scripture. But I think talking about it openly (and non-defensively) when people want to has gotta be a good thing.

 

Lets pray

Church Notice sheet piece here
Readings

Proverbs 16

24 Kind words are like honey-
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Proverbs 18

20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal;
the right words bring satisfaction.

 

Mark 12 1-9

Then Jesus began teaching them with stories: “A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. 2 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. 3 But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. 4 The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. 5 The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, 6 until there was only one left-his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’

7 “But the tenant farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ 8 So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard.

9 “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you-he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.

 

1 Peter 3 13-18

13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.[c] Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

18 Christ suffered[d] for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.[e]

 

Matthew 29  18-20

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

 

Psalm 71

17 O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
18
Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
You have done such wonderful things.
Who can compare with you, O God?  R
20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
21 You will restore me to even greater honor
and comfort me once again.  R

 

22 Then I will praise you with music on the harp,
because you are faithful to your promises, O my God.
I will sing praises to you with a lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
23 I will shout for joy and sing your praises,
for you have ransomed me.  R
24 I will tell about your righteous deeds
all day long,
for everyone who tried to hurt me
has been shamed and humiliated.  R

 

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